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St. John of God Primary School, The Faythe, Wexford, Y35 YT38, Ireland. ~ 053-9123105. H.S.C.L. 087-9657964
Friday, 18th January 2019

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The George Ross Wall

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Over the last two years personnel from the Art Department at Carlow I.T. (Wexford Campus), the South End Family Resource Centre and the school have been in contact with local traditional singer, Paddy Berry, about an idea sparked by Paddy’s visit to the National Fléadh in Sligo. There many of the streetscapes were decorated with murals celebrating  our musical heritage while giving those same streets a ‘make-over.’

With the ‘mural seed’ firmly sown  Paddy donated the gable end of a property in the Faythe, approached the SERFC (who in turn approached CIT and the school) and a small committee met over the intervening period. Through the school, and supported as ever by Cllr. George Lawlor,  a €400 Arts Grant was acquired from Wexford County Council.

1956 is a year suitably celebrated in Wexford as three national titles returned to the county.Two of these three titles,  the National Hurling League and the All-Ireland Senior Hurling title were won as team events but a man inextricably linked to the Faythe garnered an All-Ireland title all by himself.

George Ross  won the accordion All Ireland in 1956 in Ennis. He was a member of the great Mayglass Céilí band and latterly the Loch Garman Céilí band. George was held in the highest regard by traditional music aficionados as a player, teacher and composer and he was no stranger to making records and being recorded for radio. Once Paddy Berry decided on the mural, there was only ever going to be one person featured in it, the inimitable George Ross.

Having had the walls sealed and painted white, Paddy handed the wall over to the students from CIT and in less than a week, a grey dank ‘gable-end’  was turned into something vibrant, colourful and a source of local pride. The mural featuring George in typical pose, also depicts a representation of a lightship, indicative of the Faythe’s maritime heritage, festooned with musical notes and fittingly pupils from the Faythe school where George, following many years in Pierces Foundry, worked as the school caretaker, collaborated on the mural.

The music accompanying the video is taken from a recording featuring George Ross, Conor Geoghan  and Gerry Forde (who was Ms. Forde’s grandfather) who himself was an All-Ireland Fiddle Champion.

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